Jacob Rees-Mogg MP has been appointed as Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), as newly appointed Prime Minister Liz Truss unveils her cabinet.
The MP for North East Somerset is taking over the role from Kwasi Kwarteng, who has been appointed as Chancellor.
The position is particularly key, given him a leading role in the government’s efforts to tackle the energy crisis over the coming months.
A plan is expected to be unveiled by Truss tomorrow (8 September) detailing immediate actions to mitigate the crisis, as the number of UK households in fuel poverty from 4.5 million last October to 8.9 million this October due to the price cap jumping 80% to £3,549.
According to reports in a number of media outlets, Truss is expected to freeze the cap at its current rate of £1,971 for the Q4 period.
Reports have also suggested that the wholesale gas price could also be capped, helping to protect thousands of businesses around the country that are looking at their tariffs increasing by as much as ten times.
Estimates for the cost of such intervention have varied, with some putting it at £90 billion and others more than £150 billion. It is thought that this will be paid for through extra borrowing, which will allow the government to foot the bill for the additional cost of electricity and gas not met by bills in the short-term.
The appointment of Rees-Mogg at such a crucial time in the energy industry has been met by concern and criticism for many in the sector and in opposition parties amongst other groups.
He has previously referred to climate science as “alarmism” and criticised the closure of coal-fired power plants in Britain, amongst other criticisms of the green energy transition.
Along with Rees-Mogg, other notable appointments for the energy sector include Graham Stuart MP as minister for climate within BEIS, Ranil Jayawardena MP as secretary of state for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and Anne-Marie Trevelyan MP as secretary of state for Transport. Trevelyan served as energy minister until September 2021, when Kwarteng took over and she moved to the Department for International Trade.
Additionally, Alok Sharma MP has been re-appointed as COP26 President.